Inquiring minds wants to know, who is Sasha?
I am a Independent filmmaker, and Boy Mom of 2 from Cleveland, Ohio. Also, a retired athlete turned Cinematographer. I have had the opportunity to work with reputable brands like Bizzy Bone of (Bone Thugs & Harmony), Training Mask, WTRMLN WTR, The historical Theater "Karamu House" (Cleveland, Ohio) and more. I have 10 years of experience as a Cinematographer. I grew in a poverty stricken area where crime was very high.
Growing up on ST. CLAIR AVE. molded me into a great athlete which lead to me obtaining a full D1 basketball scholarship. Playing basketball at a high level lead me into the career field of film. In college I worked in the women's basketball recruiting office. My day to day duties were watching film of possible prospects. I learned the inside of the collegiate recruiting process.
By the end of my senior year I learned the basics of video editing and started to create sports highlights for other athletes who needed them as well as myself. I believe those were my first initial openings to my future in film and being more curious about it. A few years later after I retired from basketball because of injuries I started to take my skills and learning a little more serious. I begin to shoot music videos for local artists and even took attempt at my very first short film called "Saturday The 13th".
I casted a few friends and family members to help out. That project gave me the experience and confidence to take another attempt with creating a TV series called "Langston Tributes" with another local filmmaker/Screenwriter (Jillian Holt). After the success of our film festival run I made the decision to quit my career job and go full throttle with my company "7even Nation Films".
Some of us are in positions we didn’t expect to be in years ago. Does that apply to you or did you know you always wanted to be a Cinematographer?
Yes, that definitely applies to me. The position I am in now I would have never imagined. My whole life growing up was built around my athletic abilities. I thought I would be playing professional basketball or using my college degrees. I majored in Criminology & Criminal Justice and end up working at a Halfway House (Rehabilitation Center). So, that's totally two different career fields. I can truly say Cinematography fell into my lap. I didn't realize until I got to college that I've always been the person with a camera or behind one. Always taking photos or videos of other people. One thing that many don't know about me is that I am 100% self taught. People are always asking me did I go to school for Cinematography because the knowledge and skillset I have. But, this has taking me years of learning and I am still learning.
Having the right skillset and developing it sets you apart from others. What do you feel sets you apart from others?
I feel what sets me apart from others is my drive and willingness to get a project to completion. Also, my vision. I'm often told that I am very visionary. I have a very good eye with seeing things others don't and bringing it to life.
In general, have being a cinematographer been easy? If not, what have been some of the struggles along the way?
It's crazy you ask that because many think it's easy. They think most of the time we just show up and press record. I feel people get videographer and cinematographer mixed up. I'm here to say that it's not easy at all and being a FEMALE cinematographer doesn't make it any better. I know I am in a male dominant profession. Alot of people are shocked to know that something good was filmed and edited by a woman. I get questioned all the time about if my work is really my work. Another struggle is when you are a perfectionist!!! I'm like my worst critic. Sometimes, when a client tell me they love it but, in my mind I'm not in love with the shot. I'm always trying to get the best out of every project I'm working on. Personally, that's just me.
What is the most rewarding production you have worked on so far?
I would have to say every production I've worked on because I enjoy what I do. It has given me an opportunity to gain the experience needed to become as skilled as I am today. But, if I really had to choose I would have to say the production I worked on where me and my partner Jillian Holt re-created some of our favorite scenes from 90's movies. We had re-created a scene from Belly movie and Set It Off movie. The Belly scene we casted one our local actresses (Donesha Jones) to play the character Keisha. We had alot of fun re-creating those scenes. Even Taral Hicks who played the actual character Keisha in Belly movie end up acknowledging our re-created scenes and loved them. She end following me which, was really cool because I am actually a fan of her work. So, we was actually glad we could pay homage and give her, her flowers.
Every year technology evolves. What are some articles you read to stay in the know or how often do you update your knowledge and skills as a cinematographer?
I'm always in learning mode. I feel like I have to because this profession is always evolving. I have to keep up with the industry standard equipment and editing software. I read alot of Cinematography books or anything I can get my hands on to sharpen my skillset. One of my favorite go to Cinematography series of books is Master Shots by Christopher Kenworthy. Those series of books keeps me on my toes with being creative with different shots, and camera angles.
Theoretically speaking: What would you do if you were assigned to shoot a scene that took place at night, but the available location only allowed you to shoot during the day?
I can say this has happened to me once where we had to shoot everything in the daytime because that's all the time the client could afford to finish the video. But, we tried our best to carry out what the client envisioned. The best way to carry out day for night is by filming at the middle of the day when the sun is overhead. You have to underexpose your footage when filming and also set your camera to the correct white balance so it can be embedded into the footage when you get back to post production.
Thanks for sharing your cinematography journey with us. Looking forward to more films by 7even Nation Films.
If you're interested in releasing a film, music video or even a commercial, feel free to contact Sasha Sales.
Behind the scene is where even more work goes into play to create a film. Without the majority of the people behind the scenes, what we see on screen could not be possible. Let's make it our business to "spotlight" those that help create your favorite scenes.
If you know someone that should be spotlighted go ahead and shine the light.